Solar industry petitions against CEB Circular to limit large projects

Monday, 3 June 2019 00:58 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • Solar Industries Association petitions to President, PM and Ravi K on CEB Circular cancelling new applications for solar projects over 50 kW
  • Nearly 200 signatures collected for petition demanding Circular be revoked
  • SIA claims moves afoot to stop excess power purchases from domestic solar by CEB

By Ruwandi Gamage

The Solar Industries Association (SIA) has decided to petition against a Circular issued by the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) refusing to accept applications for solar power projects over 50 kW in size.

SIA on Friday (31 May) collected nearly 200 signatures for a petition they will file against the Circular issued by the CEB on 28 May, seeking the CEB to withdraw the Circular. 

The SIA contends the CEB and officials of the Ministry of Power and Energy have taken these steps without any consultation from relevant authorities, including the Cabinet or the President – who is also the Minister of Environment. The organisation plans to appeal to President Maithripala Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Cabinet Members to pressure the CEB to withdraw the Circular. 

Addressing the media, SIA Secretary Lakmal Fernando further claimed that the CEB and Ministry officials informed them last week that net metering, which allows excess energy produced by domestic solar projects to be sold to the CEB, could also be cancelled, and net plus tariffs where CEB buys all energy produced by solar projects, are to be drastically reduced, rendering the scheme commercially unviable. 

Fernando further added that the petition will be forwarded to the President, the Prime Minister and the Cabinet of Ministers to instruct the Ministry of Power and Energy and the CEB to immediately revoke these measures and revert to the existing systems at least until the target of generating 1000 MW of roof-top solar is achieved.

“During the last four to five years, solar power generation has added 250 MW to the system. More than 10,000 people are employed in this industry. Shutting down net plus will result in the reduction in the contribution of solar power to the national grid. This shortage will be filled by power purchased at higher rates. Emergency power can be as high as Rs. 30 kWh, compared to a cost less than Rs. 18 kWh for solar power,” SIA Secretary Lakmal Fernando said.

Speaking to media, SIA Executive Committee Member Prabath Wickramasinghe explained how within a span of six years, 19,700 solar systems have been set up and can be increased up to 21,000 systems by 2020. 

“Through the ‘Surya Bala Sangramaya’, solar has become the common man’s business and has opened up space for a lot of job opportunities as it is an equal opportunity industry. Domestic solar projects are the fastest ways to add renewable energy to the grid. In favourable conditions, solar has the potential to add 200 MW per year to the grid,” Wickramasinghe said.